NACCHO Aboriginal Health & Suicide Prevention @LindaBurneyMP @GerryGeorgatos : Since 1 January a total of 78 #­Indigenous Australians have taken their own lives : 90 % of the nation’s youth suicides aged 14 and younger involve our mob

 “ Ms Burney said she would be open to travelling across Australia with her Coalition counterpart and friend Ken Wyatt — who last week became the first Aboriginal person to hold the indigenous ­affairs portfolio — to ask families whose loved ones had ended their own lives how they believed the situation could have been prevented.

The sheer horror of the crisis was revealed in The Weekend Australian, which reported that 77 ­indigenous Australians had taken their own lives in the first five months of 2019, including seven in the past week.

 Another suicide yesterday brought that figure to 78 since January 1.

Linda Burney is now Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister. See Article Part 1 Below and full Indigenous shadow ministry Part 2

Read over 140 + Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention article published by NACCHO in the past 7 years 

For the past week, Indigenous and other leaders have been campaigning in The Sydney Morning Herald for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. I, too, pray this campaign succeeds.

Empowering Indigenous Australians in the decisions that affect their destiny is critical to addressing the entrenched disadvantage they endure – the deplorable health, employment and incarceration statistics that are reflected in the shocking suicide numbers.”

Gerry Georgatos is the national co-ordinator of the National Critical Response Trauma Recovery Project. He previously led the federal government’s National Indigenous Critical Response Service : see Part 3 in full

Part 1 : Families first in Burney’s bid to tackle suicide crisis

From the Australian 3 June

Linda Burney wants to talk to the broken families of young in­digenous people who have taken their own lives, to help find solutions to the suicide crisis, after being ­appointed Labor’s first ­Aboriginal spokeswoman for indigenous Australians.

Stressing that youth suicide — particularly among regional, rural and remote communities — was not a “new tragedy”, Ms Burney said the key to turning around the devastating trend was a sharper focus on early intervention, ­ensuring Aboriginal people worked for and with youth mental health organisations, and a strengthened commitment to research on the factors behind the crisis.

Ms Burney said she would be open to travelling across Australia with her Coalition counterpart and friend Ken Wyatt — who last week became the first Aboriginal person to hold the indigenous ­affairs portfolio — to ask families whose loved ones had ended their own lives how they believed the situation could have been prevented.

The sheer horror of the crisis was revealed in The Weekend Australian, which reported that 77 ­indigenous Australians had taken their own lives in the first five months of 2019, including seven in the past week. Another suicide yesterday brought that figure to 78 since January 1.

“Youth suicide is the end of a very long line for people and it’s not a new issue,” Ms Burney told The Australian. “I want to really make that clear. I know it’s like everyone is talking about it now, but this has been an entrenched issue within Aboriginal communities for a very long time. The issue of early intervention is really important. Not just intervention in the year before or the two years before (they potentially take their life), but investment in early childhood education, healthy living, being strong in your culture and strong in yourself. Those things don’t come about when you’re 14 or 15, they’re things you build over a whole lifetime.”

Ms Burney’s beloved 33-year-old son, Binni, was found dead in October 2017 at their family home. There were no suspicious circumstances.

The former NSW state MP said she had avoided indigenous portfolios over her nearly 18-year political career, but she felt now was the time to take on the role.

“The suicides in the last three years, were there one or two common strands that every awful situation contained? I don’t know where the research is and we need to know more about it,” she said.

“(I want to) visit (affected families), sit down with them and talk to them. That’s absolutely crucial. They have to be part of putting forward what needs to happen.”

She suggested “very fine” youth mental health services that received government funding should ensure they had an indigenous strategy or employed ­Aboriginal people to demonstrate that Aboriginal children were being helped.

But many on the frontlines of the nation’s indigenous suicide crisis say funding for grassroots 24-7 prevention services is seriously lacking.

Noeletta McKenzie, a highly respected youth worker in suicide prevention in the Northern Territory, is the manager of the Balunu Foundation in Darwin, a small but mighty indigenous-owned and operated youth service that is aiming to break the cycle of disadvantage by connecting kids to identity and culture.

Balunu, like many similar ­organisations, cannot keep up with demand. Ms McKenzie has just enough funding for three staff, including herself, and each grapples with a “huge workload”. She estimates she has about 20 kids on her books in Darwin, and another 20 involved in Balunu’s outreach program.

“The kids we work with are under the poverty line, some are couch-surfing, some are homeless,” she said.

“We pick our kids up for all our programs, and we always put on a big lunch for them. For some of these kids, that could be their first feed that day, or their first feed since breakfast the day before. We don’t clock off. It can get overwhelming. I stay up all night inboxing (messaging) on Facebook with a young person who is self-harming, to get them through the night.”

Ms McKenzie said Australia needed a minister for indigenous suicide prevention. “We really need to get very serious about suicide in this country,” she said.

Tragically, the 42-year-old Darwin-based youth worker is one of many grappling both professionally and personally with the suicide epidemic.

Her beloved nephew, Sabo Young, was just 24 when he took his life in February last year. As the senior youth worker, caretaker of the youth centre, and a qualified youth justice worker in Maningrida in remote Arnhem Land, Sabo was always on call, often staying awake all night to talk a child out of suicide.

Passionate about his job, adored by his family, and idolised as a big brother by the kids he mentored, Sabo saved countless lives.

“It was a big shock to our family,” Ms McKenzie said of her nephew’s sudden death. “Sabo was a role model. He was the big brother one, and like a son to me.

“Anyone who works on the frontline, dealing with young people with suicidal thoughts, everyone feels that weight. We’ve also got to care for the carers.”

If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, call Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467), or see a doctor

Part 2

Australian Labor Party Anthony Albanese MP has put First Nations issues high on the Labor agenda in his Shadow Cabinet lineup. First Nations Federal Labor Caucus (FNCC) will be the body that supports the First Nations’ policies process.

Appointments to the Shadow Ministry.

Linda Burney is now Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister.

Senator Patrick Dodson is Shadow Assistant Minister in Reconciliation & Constitutional Recognition

Warren Snowdon MP is now Shadow Assistant Minister in Indigenous Affairs

The high rates of suicide and incarceration rates, in particular of young First Nations people, is the immediate focus, along with the discriminatory CDP policy.

Part 3

Children’s graves in a row: the Indigenous youth suicide emergency

From SMH 3 June

I remember a 10-year-old Indigenous child lost to suicide. The year before her death, she found her 11-year-old first cousin had taken his life. Two years earlier her 13-year-old sister had taken her life. They lived in crushing poverty and confronted an arc of distress born of that inescapable poverty.

For the past decade, I’ve focused my research and working life on suicide prevention and its indisputable intersection with poverty.

From a trauma recovery vantage, I’ve worked alongside more than 1000 suicide-affected families. These include hundreds of First Nations families. I’ve journeyed to more than 600 First Nations communities.

I attended the funerals of three children in one community – three burials in five days, three graves in a row. Hundreds of mourners weeping, wailing. Weeks later, the loss of two more young people would make it five graves in a row of youth unlived.

One in 17 of all deaths of First Nations people is a suicide, while half of all deaths of Indigenous youth aged 17 and younger is a suicide. First Nations children account for almost 90 per cent of the suicides of children aged 14 and younger. The nation should weep.

The suicide rate of First Nations Australians is 2½ times that of the overall Australian rate. Now consider this: 14 per cent of Australians live below the poverty line while 40 per cent of First Nations Australians do.

That’s a 2½ times differential – an absolute correlation. In my research, experiential and otherwise, nearly 100 per cent of the suicides of First Nations peoples are of individuals who lived below the poverty line.

For the past week, Indigenous and other leaders have been campaigning in The Sydney Morning Herald for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. I, too, pray this campaign succeeds. Empowering Indigenous Australians in the decisions that affect their destiny is critical to addressing the entrenched disadvantage they endure – the deplorable health, employment and incarceration statistics that are reflected in the shocking suicide numbers.

The Indigenous Voice will be a reason for long-term hope. It may well not happen, however, in this term of government. The suicide emergency  needs focus now.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt have pledged a pronounced focus on suicide prevention, particularly youth suicide. This is to be applauded. So is the historic appointment of Ken Wyatt as the nation’s  first Indigenous Minister for Indigenous Australians.

But I had hoped the federal government would announce a Minister for Suicide Prevention. I believed that Ken Wyatt – as a widely respected Indigenous man, and with his background in health administration – was uniquely qualified to taken on such a role.

RELATED ARTICLE

INDIGENOUS

Kimberley suicide rate reflects colonial legacy and ‘mindset of consent to inaction’

Minister Ken Wyatt, with his substantive education and health backgrounds, is the best shot Australia has had thus far to further long overdue lifesaving legacies.

Each year of this century the First Nations suicide toll has been higher than the preceding year. This year, once again we are heading to another record. Thus far, there have been 78 suicides of First Nations Australians, 20 aged 18 or younger, more than half aged 26 or younger. Of all weeks, the toll shot up by seven last week. That was Reconciliation Week.

As somebody with years immersed in suicide prevention who is not desktop-bound, here is what I want everyone to know:  suicide is not complex. It is multi-factorial and multi-layered with an arc of issues, some which intertwine, but it is not complex. There is an underwriting narrative – poverty. More than two-thirds of the Australian suicide toll is intersected by poverty and a concomitant accumulation of life stressors.

Eight of 10 First Nations children in remote areas do not complete school. Even in our capital cities, one in two First Nations children living in public housing do not complete school.

There are guiding lights. Like overseas-born children who fled to Australia from oppressive disadvantage, First Nations youth who go to university are among the most likely and most driven to succeed.

Unless governments heed and focus, more children than ever before will be lost. We must prioritise those most in need, those who languish in shanties without white goods, without secondary schools, without recreational facilities.

Of the many tragedies I have confronted  in my work, hauntingly etched in my mind’s eye are three children who are still alive.  Two years ago, they were aged six, eight and 10 when – together – they attempted suicide.  They were saved by older children.

We have many more children to save.

 Gerry Georgatos is the national co-ordinator of the National Critical Response Trauma Recovery Project. He previously led the federal government’s National Indigenous Critical Response Service.

 

 

NACCHO Conference Alert #closethegap :Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Conference Call for Papers

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Energy is building and registrations are open for the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference in Alice Springs on 5 – 6 May 2016

Every year at least 5% of all deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is due to suicide. This ongoing crisis is increasingly significant amongst those aged 15 to 34, where suicide is the leading cause of death, accounting for a third of all loss of life.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) has been funded by the Australian government to investigate suicide prevention programs to determine what works, why, and how it can be replicated.

Incorporating a strong commitment to Indigenous governance, ATSISPEP is not just an exercise in desk top research. Listening to communities through personal consultation and Community Roundtables is essential to understanding the complexity of the problem, and the appropriateness of systematic, yet locally specific, solutions.

The culmination of this process is the Inaugural National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference.

Long overdue, this event will bring together experts and members of the Australian community from across the country to Alice Springs. For two days those gathered will exchange learnings, share lived experience and build knowledge about how we can best empower communities to tackle this entrenched tragedy.

Call for Papers

Thank you for your interest in presenting at a concurrent session at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference.  Abstract submissions are now open. Sessions will be between 15 and 25 minutes and are available on both 5 and 6 May. Abstract submission deadline is 5.00pm (WST) Wednesday 23 March 2016.
Abstracts are assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Experience working in the field
  • Lived experience of people who are delivering programs or services in the community
  • Preference will be given to presentations from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or teams of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people

Please email Chrissie Easton, the ATSISPEP Project Coordinator an abstract on a topic you would like to present

Registration and accommodation bookings are available at http://www.atsispep.sis.uwa.edu.au/natsispc-2016 
There are a limited number of bursaries available – please contact Chrissie Easton at chrissie.easton@uwa.edu.au if you need assistance to complete the application.

Please also contact Chrissie Easton if you are interested in making a presentation at the conference of up to 30 minutes.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert: No more lies, our children should not see suicide as the solution

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“18 years young, Phillinka died on October 18 last year. At the time, at her anguished mother’s request I wrote of the loss of Phillinka and of so many others in the Kimberley. I am once again in the Kimberley – surrounded by the most pristine nature and by the loss of so many young lives. For the First Peoples of the Kimberley – for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders – the Kimberley has among the world’s highest self-harm and suicide rates.”

It is not like me to cry…” – no more lies, our children should not see suicide as the solution

by Gerry Georgatos FROM THE STRINGER

Please Note : It is only at the request of Philinka’s mother’s that we have published the photo of Phillinka and used her name. Phillinka’s mother, Lena, is urging for much to change for all her people, and that her daughter’s passing brings on the journey to the changes that would have made a difference to Phillinka and the many others who we should not have lost

While in the Kimberley, I am writing this for Phillinka, for her mother Lena, for all those whom she left behind, who are at a loss, and for those since Phillinka who have been lost to suicide.

If you are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in this nation and aged 15 to 35 years, one in three deaths in this age group will be registered as a suicide. It is this age group’s leading cause of death. This is an abomination, moral and otherwise, an obvious indictment of our governments.

This tragic statistic should galvanise the nation – our governments – into comprehensive responses.

Suicide is a humanitarian crisis among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples however ever so little is being done by one government after another. In many ways our governments are making it worse, on the one hand effectively neglecting this tragedy while they wax lyrical about how much they care and on the other hand they have all the wrong people and policies piecemeal responding to this tragedy but going backwards. This tragedy is indeed an indictment of our governments and of the national consciousness.

Professor Tom Calma said, “In the mid-1980s 99 Aboriginal deaths in custody prompted a Royal Commission and the current tragedy of Indigenous suicides should prompt similar attention. While some attention is being paid by governments more needs to be done to address the determinants that contribute to the psychological stressors that afflict Indigenous society.”

On average over 130 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people ended their lives each year in the last five years. This is 30 per cent more suicides than in the ten years preceding. One in 19 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander deaths is accounted for by suicide. But because of under-reporting issues we know that the rate is much higher. I estimate that it is between one in 10 to one in 12 suicides.

What will it take for our governments and the nation to prioritise this pressing tragedy?

How many young people such as Phillinka must be lost before this nation is disturbed into action? As I write this article, at the forefront are the facts that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people of the Kimberley and far north Queensland have the nation’s highest suicide rates – over 70 suicides per 100,000 population – seven times the Australian overall national trend, with some parts of these regions with suicide rates up to 20 times. In the last five years in the Kimberley there have been registered as many suicides as were registered in the preceding ten years.

While in the Kimberley I have been meeting with community leaders and suicide affected families and have been heartbroken by their stories. They describe no support or standby whatsoever despite the tragedy of losing a loved one. I do realise that many services are themselves at a loss as to what to do because they are overstretched and underfunded.

It was yesterday that I sat on a rocky patch here in the Kimberley and cried after hearing a couple of mothers’ stories. It is not really like me to cry but this morning I cried again. I will tell you more.

I write again of Phillinka who died last year, October 18. There are no words for her loss. Phillinka was resilient, she was enthusiastic and she was from a large family – with a father and mother who loved her dearly. She had completed boarding school in Melbourne, at Wesley, through Yirimalay.

Her mother Lena Andrews said, “There was no-one there for us but our family, ourselves. There were no standby services, there was no-one to guide us through our grief.”

“Once again it was just families supporting families but all our families are broken by suicide, by our children jailed. We are a broken people. It cannot be this way but it is. I have lost my beautiful daughter and the pain does not go away.”

“This year I have lost my mother and my sister, more pain and no-one there for us.”

“I have considered suicide but my children keep me going.”

“I have had you listening and to call.”

The federal government should be rushing to prioritise this crisis above all else, a crisis that is shaming this nation. If this crisis is not abated, this maddening crisis is the starkest portrayal of a racist nation. There are no excuses to hide behind, no justifications, other than heartlessness.

During the last couple of years, The National Indigenous Times, The National Indigenous Radio Service (I no longer work for either of these outlets) and the online independent news site, The Stringer have led the way in sustaining the coverage on the suicide crises that most media did not utter a word about. In the last year, there has been significant coverage, particularly in The Australian newspaper, led by journalists, Paige Taylor, Andrew Burrell and Natasha Robinson, and also in the ABC, led particularly by the 7:30 Report’s Bronwyn Herbert.

Three years ago, through the National Indigenous Times I brought to the nation’s attention that the suicide rate among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders is likely as high as one in 12 of all deaths, a horrific suicide rate. How could this be possible in the world’s 12th largest economy, in one of the world’s wealthiest nations? But Walmajarri and Bunaba Kimberley mother, Lena Andrews, can tell you why.

“Racism,” stated Ms Andrews.

“Our people are smashed by it, hurt by it, tortured by it. This is a nation of two peoples. The First Peoples and the Australian peoples and unless First Peoples do as they’re told then they are punished by every means imaginable.”

Ms Andrews lost her 18 year old daughter, Phillinka Powdrill, to suicide. Phillinka was buried in her hometown of Fitzroy Crossing. But Philinka was not someone without capacity, without bright hope for the future. Philinka had just graduated from a Melbourne boarding school.

“Our people need ‘resilience’ to cope with the racism that hurts this nation. We need resilience to deal with how we are looked at, viewed, treated, and not just by governments who are in the end responsible for the lot that is racism, but also we need inexhaustible resilience in our daily ordeals with ordinary people who have soaked up the prejudices of one generation after another.”

“We did not expect to lose Philinka. But we did. We did not expect to bury our child. Our hearts are breaking, and we do not know who to turn to. We do not know what to do.”

“One minute she is here, next minute she is gone. Our people can only cope with so much and for only so long.

“Our people are under attack every day. Governments just do not stop. It is one attack on us after another. They want to shut down our communities. They want to move us around, off our lands. They want to manage us, to do this and that to us. How much can we take, how much can we deal with, how much focus on the colour of our skin or on our identity can we deal with and stay resilient? It takes a toll on us to be made to feel different, to be made unequal and to be treated like we are shit.”

“Governments need to understand, that assimilation will kill many of our people, as it is doing every day all around us, and where it literally doesn’t kill our people, it will crush our people, as it is doing.”

“Our people are homeless, they are turned away, they fill the prisons, and they are battered and bruised. Their only hope in this terribly racist nation is to turn away from one’s own, and turn on each other, and get in bed with effectively the racists, whether they are governments or whomever.”

“We are dying.”

Ms Andrews, a former radio broadcaster in the Kimberley, has a 23 year old son in a Perth prison who I will be visiting next week. She worries whether her son will make it out alive. However, it is ten times more likely that he may lose his life in the first year post-release. Prison is a harsh punitive experience where in general people come out worse than they went in.

A damning statistic is that no less than one in ten and more likely closer to one in six of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders living today have been to prison. One in six! This too is an abomination, moral and otherwise. It is racialised imprisonment. It is racism.

Phillinka was born in October 1996, but just a little over 18 years later she would take her life. Five weeks passed between Philinka’s death and her burial. The family fought for her brother to be released for the day of the funeral of his sister but Corrective Services knocked this back.

“It broke our hearts, the decision to not let my son attend his sister’s funeral has devastated us, compounded more anguish.”

“He has been a victim of sexual abuse in prison, we are worried for him, we are now more worried than ever before.”

“It is bullshit, just bullshit.”

“How much can our people endure?”

“On top of this, the Coroner’s office did not return my daughter’s clothing which we did want returned. They destroyed it. They claimed it was contaminated. That’s just more bullshit.”

“My beautiful daughter is gone. We did everything that we could. Her graduation day at Wesley College (Melbourne) feels like yesterday.”

The National Indigenous Times allowed me to use my foray into journalism to highlight the suicide crises rife among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Indeed, this newspaper allowed for advocacy journalism, for sustained coverage and has knocked up a long overdue national conversation.

As a result of this coverage and my personal lobbying behind the scenes with one government after another, I formally met with the Federal Government, in particular with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion, who has listened and has in turn funded the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project led by Indigenous Mental Health Commissioner Professor Pat Dudgeon and which includes myself as a researcher and community consultant, among other very good people. We are working, at speed, to not only identify the ways forward, as we already know much of what is needed, but also to see the ways forward at long last enabled.

But this is not enough. We need a multi-partisan Government approach to not only respond to the suicide crisis but to everything that underwrites it – the racism, the bent for assimilation, the cheating of peoples of their right to Country and of the right to various dues from their Country. I have now travelled back and forth from Western Australia to Canberra several times in the last couple of months to meet with Ministers, to meet in particular with Senator Scullion and Senator Nova Peris, because in the end it is only they who can make the real difference. The sustained coverage by The National Indigenous TimesThe Stringer and now by the general media must be matched by the right responses by our parliamentarians.

On the morning of April 16, 2014, after a 21 day vigil I left my father’s death bed for several hours to meet with Senator Nigel Scullion at the Commonwealth Offices in Bligh St., Sydney. Our meeting was about the suicides crises and of the ways forward. My father had urged me to not delay the meeting despite the risk that I would not be by his side during his last moments on this earth – something that would have torn me apart. After that meeting effectively the ATSISPEP was established and a step in the right direction taken. However it is one step. Two days later my father passed away.

Last year Professor Pat Dudgeon called for a “national inquiry into the suicide crisis of our people” coupling Professor Tom Calma’s suggestion for a Royal Commission. There should be a Royal Commission due to inaction and because of the reductionist strategies and policies and penny-pinching. We know what the issues are but the nation has to hear them and we know the solutions. The solutions are not in ‘ambassadors’ and ‘one day workshops’.

Governments will fail in many of their objectives but the one objective that they should prioritise above all others, and the one objective they must not fail in delivering, is in reducing the loss of life to suicide. There is no greater legacy that any parliamentarian can have than in having saved lives.

The First Peoples of the Kimberley, far north Queensland and of the Northern Territory have among the world’s highest suicide rates, and unless the governments as a whole step up I can state without any reservation that this catastrophic crisis is only going to get worse.

The Australian Senate will soon hear the call for a Royal Commission, for a legitimate national inquiry, will soon hear about the genuine ways forward and what they hear must not go in one ear and out the other.

Yesterday, I cried not only for Phillinka, not only for the Sturt and Carter families who in January were traumatised by inactions by service responders when their loved one was lost to suicide in Wunga, 90 kilometres from Halls Creek, not only for 11 year old Peter Little who took his life late last year and his mother the same only weeks ago but for everyone needlessly lost and all the while our governments are unresponsive.

 

–       Phillinka’s father, Daniel Powdrill, “You used to come to me with a smile… I can’t find the strength to accept that you are really gone. I cry myself to sleep just thinking about you. You have left a big hole in my heart and there is no one that can ever cover that.”

–       Phillinka’s mother, Lena Andrews, “When I first held you, I knew you were mine to keep, to love and to hold forever… You left a huge hole in my heart that no one can cover, no one else can replace you my daughter.”

 

– Declaration of impartiality conflict: The author of this article, Gerry Georgatos, is a suicide prevention researcher with various national and other projects and is also a community consultant with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP).

It is only at the request of Philinka’s mother’s that we have published the photo of Phillinka and used her name. Phillinka’s mother, Lena, is urging for much to change for all her people, and that her daughter’s passing brings on the journey to the changes that would have made a difference to Phillinka and the many others who we should not have lost.

 

Lifeline’s 24-hour hotline, 13 11 14

Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention

NACCHO Indigenous Suicide Prevention : Assistance is needed for important research project

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“Once developed, these guidelines will provide guidance on giving appropriate support to members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are having suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harming behaviours. They will be used to inform the content of gatekeeper training for people to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention.”

Indigenous Suicide Prevention

Do you have expertise in suicide or self-injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

If yes, your assistance is needed for an important research project 

What does the project involve?

Researchers at the The University of Melbourne are seeking up to 30 expert panel members for a research project to develop guidelines on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and non-Aboriginal frontline workers can provide mental health first aid for people who are having suicidal thoughts or displaying self-harming behaviour. These guidelines will empower them to take action to reduce the risk of suicide and self-injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and adults.

Who are we looking for?

To become a panel member you need to be aged 18 years or over, identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, as well as having an expert level of knowledge about suicide and/or self-injury through your experience working in this field amongst Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities. If you meet these criteria, we would really appreciate your help with what we believe to be an extremely important and worthwhile project.

Can I let other people know about the project?

We also encourage you to forward this advertisement to all relevant contacts who you believe meet these criteria and would be interested in participating.

What do I have to give and what do I receive?

The total time commitment for this project is estimated to be approximately 2-3 hours. Participation will involve completing 6 online surveys (3 on suicide and 3 on self-injury), rating mental health first aid helping actions according to their importance to be included in the guidelines. Upon completion of the final survey, you will be reimbursed $250 for your time in the form of a Coles Group & Myer gift card. You are not required to attend any meetings, as all contact will be via the internet, or if you prefer, by paper mail.

What will be done with the guidelines?

Once developed, these guidelines will provide guidance on giving appropriate support to members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are having suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harming behaviours. They will be used to inform the content of gatekeeper training for people to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention. The guidelines will be freely available to download from the Mental Health First Aid website: www.mhfa.com.au

What about confidentiality?

All information about participants will remain strictly confidential. We are interested in the consensus views of the panel, rather than the views of individual panel members, so individual answers will never be reported.

How do I get involved?

If you would like to express interest in participating in this research, please email the study co-ordinator Gregory Armstrong at g.armstrong@unimelb.edu.au for a copy of the plain language statement, which provides further information.

Sincerely

Professor Anthony Jorm

Professorial Fellow and NHMRC Australia Fellow

Centre for Mental Health

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Level 4, 207 Bouverie Street

The University of Melbourne  l 3010

T: +61 3 9035 7799

E: ajorm@unimelb.edu.au

 

Professor Kerry Arabena

Chair of Indigenous Health

Director Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit

Centre for Health and Society

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Level 4, 207 Bouverie Street

The University of Melbourne  l 3010

T: +61 3 90353033+61 3 90353033

E: kerry.arabena@unimelb.edu.au

 

Betty Kitchener AM

CEO

Mental Health First Aid Australia

369 Royal Parade

Parkville  l 3052

T: +61 3 90790201+61 3 90790201

E: bettyk@mhfa.com.au

 

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alert : Suicide prevention information SURVEY and leaders meeting update

ATSISPEP

“The focus of the roundtable will be on how we can best reduce the incidence of mental health conditions and suicide, and improve social and emotional wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Indigenous health remains this nation’s most confronting health challenge, with mental health issues in need of urgent attention. We want this meeting to develop some clear, positive strategic direction,”

Senator Scullion speaking on behalf of the three federal government ministers who will sit down with Indigenous leaders and mental health advocates today ( Wednesday)  to tackle Indigenous mental health, which they say is the nation’s “most confronting health challenge”. See full story below

SURVEY INFO

Welcome to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention information survey.

This survey is being conducted for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) – a national research project at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in partnership with Telethon Kids Institute that is responding to the high levels of suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

COMPLETE SURVEY HERE

ATSISPEP is developing a strong evidence base on effective programs, services, resources, training and other initiatives directed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention across Australia. This survey seeks your feedback, responses, and insights about any experiences you may have had with a range of suicide prevention programs, services, training and resources– either personally or in your professional capacity. The information you provide will help guide and further inform our project and strengthen its findings.

The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. Please contact the team at Telethon Kids Institute if you have any queries about the survey, or if you would like to discuss anything further with the ATSISPEP team. Thank you for your interest and participation in what we hope will be a valuable information gathering exercise.

 Indigenous mental health: leaders to tackle ‘most confronting challenge’

Three federal government ministers will sit down with Indigenous leaders and mental health advocates on Wednesday to tackle Indigenous mental health, which they say is the nation’s “most confronting health challenge”. 

From Sarah Whyte SMH :

Health Minister Sussan Ley, Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion will meet 17 mental health advocates and seven respected Indigenous health leaders at Parliament House to discuss reducing the suicide rates of Indigenous people and associated mental health issues.

“The focus of the roundtable will be on how we can best reduce the incidence of mental health conditions and suicide, and improve social and emotional wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Senator Scullion said.

“Indigenous health remains this nation’s most confronting health challenge, with mental health issues in need of urgent attention. We want this meeting to develop some clear, positive strategic direction,” he said.

Suicide death rates among Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders are more than double those of non-Indigenous people living in the same areas.

For people aged 25 to 34, the suicide rate almost triples compared with non-Indigenous people.

“Successive governments have invested heavily in culturally appropriate health programs for Indigenous Australians and, while we have had some success with improvements in life expectancy, especially with the decline in child death rates, the incidence of suicide is a continued concern and we must all work toward a coherent, national approach that more rapidly tackles these issues,” Ms Ley said.

For help or information call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636

 COMPLETE SURVEY HERE